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Drop the Puck Already: Flyers-B's

Vigneault makes changes and other news & notes from the morning skate

by Bill Meltzer @BillMeltzer

The Philadelphia Flyers' run of consecutive games against elite-grade competition continues on Monday night when the Boston Bruins pay a visit to the Wells Fargo Center. 

The game will wrap up the Flyers' three-game homestand, but before that, the Flyers held a morning skate after a full day off on Sunday. 

HAYES AND COUTURIER SWITCH

* All four Flyers forward lines will start with a different look on Monday (see "Line Play'). Most notably, centers Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier will switch lines, with Hayes centering Giroux and Travis Konecny.

The Flyers captain said he relishes challenges such as these, because every game has a playoff-like atmosphere and intensity.

GIROUX: "Both are big guys. Make a lot of plays. Protect the puck well. They're pretty similar players... For sure, those are fun games. We played pretty good the last two games [in a 3-2 win over Washington and a 1-0 loss to Tampa Bay]. Got one win, lost one. We know what kind of team the Bruins are, and they've been playing good hockey. We're going to have to be at our best," Giroux said.

SOMEONE WILL STEP UP
* Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said that, after getting shut out by Tampa Bay, he's looking for someone to step up offensively against Boston.

VIGNEAULT: "We defended well against a very skilled team [Tampa], but we're looking to put everything together. G and TK have a good thing between them and everyone seems to play well with Coots."

Additionally, with the recall of Connor Bunnaman from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Michael Raffl will move back to left wing rather than starting the game at center. 

Defense pairs remain the same as last game. Carter Hart will get his third straight start in goal.

BUNNY IS BACK
* Vigneault explained that the reason for Bunnaman's recall after a one-game callup for winger David Kase (who was returned to the Phantoms on Sunday) had to do with trying to get a little more size in the bottom-six of the lineup to deal with the size the Bruins feature up front.  

Bunnaman, a training camp dark horse, unexpectedly won an opening night roster spot with the NHL team. He dressed in four games before getting sent to the Phantoms. Very shortly after his return to the Phantoms, Bunnaman suffered a high ankle sprain on Nov. 1 that kept him out of the lineup for just shy of one full month. 

BUNNAMAN: "I'm basically 100 percent now. Just a little sore. But just tape it up and I'm good to play... I have to make sure I play the right way, and make myself noticeable." 

Very recently, however, Bunnaman seemed to be rounding back into form. Three of his four goals on the season and his lone assist of the AHL season have come over his last four games prior to the callup to return to the Flyers.

POWER PLAY TWEAKED
* The Flyers search for consistency in power play execution remains a work in progress. In Monday's morning skate, there were changes both to personnel and configuration. The team featured a double-netfront look on the first unit with James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. Hayes was also moved onto the unit. Giroux remained on the right half-boards.

With Hayes and JVR on, both Couturier and Jakub Voracek skated with the second unit. 

LINE PLAY - FLYERS
Giroux - Hayes - Konecny
Raffl - Couturier - Voracek
van Riemsdyk - Laughton - Aube-Kubel
Farabee - Bunnaman - Pitlick

Provorov - Niskanen
Sanheim - Myers
Hägg - Friedman

Hart
Elliott

BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Quote Courtesy: @NHLBruins)
The Bruins held a light optional skate - some quick-hit notes on the session:

* Jaroslav Halak will get the start in goal for the Bruins. 

* Originally considered questionable for this game after taking a slash to the knee in Saturday's game and hobbling off the ice, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will play. 

GRZELCYK: "Feeling good. Today was a lot better than yesterday. I'm excited to get out there tonight... I kind of knew right away that I would be able to play. I just needed to be a little bit more mobile out there and not be standing on one leg."

* Monday's game will be a milestone for the ageless Zdeno Chara. It will be the Bruins captain's 1,530th NHL regular season game overall and his 1,000th game as a Bruin.

LINE PLAY - BRUINS
63 Brad Marchand - 37 Patrice Bergeron - 88 David Pastrnak
74 Jake DeBrusk - 46 David Krejci - 10 Anders Björk
43 Danton Heinen - 13 Charlie Coyle - 18 Brett Ritchie
20 Joakim Nordström - 52 Sean Kuraly - 14 Chris Wagner

33 Zdeno Chara - 73 Charlie McAvoy
47 Torey Krug - 25 Brandon Carlo
27 John Moore - 48 Matt Grzelcyk

40 Tuukka Rask
41 Jaroslav Halak 

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